Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), Nov. 3, 1841
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p.2 Captain Joseph Whitney - The death of this gentleman was lately briefly mentioned in this paper. We have much pleasure in publishing the following obituary notice on the subject, from the Correspondence of the Commercial Advertiser. Captain Whitney possessed the respect and esteem of an extensive circle of friends and acquaintances on this side of the line

The Late Captain Whitney - Perhaps you may have noticed in the Western papers the death of this gentleman. Few individuals were better known to the travelling community than Captain Whitney, while in command, on Lake Ontario of the steamers Queenston, Great Britain and United States. He was an excellent seaman, and but few, if any, were better acquainted with Lake Ontario and its harbors on both sides. In early life he was attached to the American navy, and was in several engagements during the last war. At its close he went into the merchant service on Lake Ontario, and as soon as steam vessels were brought into use, he was among the first in command. The Frontenac, Captain McKenzie, was the first boat built on the British side, and the Ontario, Captain Vaughn, on the American. These had been sailing masters in the navy - the first in the fleet commanded by Sir James Yeo, and the other in that under the command of Commodore Chauncey. The next boat built was, I believe, the Queenston, owned by the Hon. John Hamilton, of Queenston Park, and Captain Whitney was placed in command. At that time the Queenston was a favorite vessel, and her commander soon gained the esteem of all who made a passage in her. After some years Mr. Hamilton built the well known steamship Great Britain, and Capt Whitney was transferred to her from the Queenston and continued her commander until about two years since, when he took charge of the steamboat United States. From his first entry on board the steamboats to the time of his death, many thousands have made passage with him, in one or the other of the boats; and I think I can hazard the opinion that no one left his boat dissatisfied with the conduct of her commander. I have been with him in sunshine and in severe storms, and always found him at his post when needed. Indeed, so devoted was he to the duties of his office, that his strong constitution finally gave way. If I am correctly informed the last trip he made was when General Scott passed through the lake, a few weeks since, when he remained in conversation with the General, on deck, until a late hour in the evening. The next day he went ashore at Lewiston, where his family resided, and never left his dwelling afterward. His body was borne to the grave by some of those hardy tars who had weathered many a storm with their old captain - his coffin was covered with the star spangled banner and union jack, the flags which had for years floated over him, and as a token of respect to his memory, the flags of both nations were hoisted at half mast, from the time of his death until the earth closed upon his remains. Perhaps you may think I have said too much of an individual, but Captain Whitney, as I before said, was personally known and esteemed by thousands, many of whom, I am persuaded, felt an interest in his welfare.

The Coroner's inquest held on the bodies of the persons who were unfortunately drowned by being ran into by the steam-boat Kingston, an account of which we gave a few weeks since, have returned a verdict of manslaughter against Robert Shaw, pilot, and John Macaulay, steersman at the time of the occurrence, and they were both held in recognizances yesterday, to appear before the next Court of Queen's Bench to be held in Picton. This is a direct libel on Captain Harrison, and the crew of the Kingston, as every one must be aware, who is acquainted with the judicious and careful management of that vessel. We very much question the clearsightedness of those who instituted the proceedings.

[Prince Edward Gazette, 29th October]

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Nov. 3, 1841
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Chronicle & Gazette (Kingston, ON), Nov. 3, 1841